December was a good month for President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. First he was selected by Time magazine as Person of the Year. Then he was asked to address a joint session of Congress. And then he was promised more money for Ukraine.
How much more?
U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, have both said that the United States would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” President Biden has said the same thing.
Because of the different metrics used, and differences between total aid committed and actual aid supplied, how much Ukraine has been given and how much more it will be given is not exactly easy to figure out.
According to a report (updated Dec. 7) by the Congressional Research Service on “U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine”:
From 2014, when Russia first invaded Ukraine, through November 23, 2022, the United States has provided approximately $21.8 billion in security assistance “to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO.” Of this amount, the Biden Administration has committed more than $19 billion in security assistance since the start of the 2022 war.
Especially since 2021, the United States has been providing defense items to Ukraine via Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), by which the President can authorize the immediate transfer of articles and services from U.S. stocks, up to a funding cap established in law, in response to an “unforeseen emergency” (22 U.S.C. §2318(a)(1)). Since August 2021, the Biden Administration has authorized 26 drawdowns valued at $11.7 billion.
The German Kiel Institute puts U.S. military, humanitarian, and financial support to Ukraine from January 24 to November 20 at $47.9 billion.
What we do know is that in 2022, the U.S. government authorized to be given to Ukraine $13.6 billion in March as part of the fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending bill, $40 billion in May in a standalone bill, $12 billion in September as part of a continuing resolution, $800 million in December in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, $45 billion as part of another omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through October, and $1.85 billion in additional military assistance, including a transfer of the Patriot Air Defense System.
In his speech to Congress, Zelensky said:
Financial assistance is also critically important and I would like to thank you, thank you very much. Thank you for both financial packages you have already provided us with and the ones you may be willing to decide on. Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.
An investment? That’s what members of Congress call all the unconstitutional spending they authorize.
But rather than terming aid to Ukraine an investment, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)—one of several Republican members of Congress who skipped Zelensky’s speech—called it what it is: “The American taxpayers have been conscripted into making welfare payments to this foreign government.”
Screaming conservative journalist Cliff Kincaid insists: “It is not ‘neo-conservatism’ to advocate regime change in Moscow. It is a matter of Ukraine’s and America’s survival.” He believes we can save America by saving Ukraine. He says that “America has no alternative but to supply the weapons necessary for Ukraine to survive and even turn the tide against Russia.” Kincaid even considers billions of U.S. tax dollars sent to Ukraine as a bargain: “Currently, even under the impact of the Red Russian Army, backed by drones from Iran, the Ukraine resistance is holding its own and making progress. And all this is costing the United States several billion dollars. What a bargain!”
Ukraine supporters should put their money where their mouth is.
How much money has Zelensky loving, Ukraine supporting conservatives like Kincaid given to Ukraine?
President Biden receives an annual salary of $400,000. How much of it has he given to Ukraine?
Vice president Kamala Harris receives an annual salary of $255,800. How much of it has she given to Ukraine?
Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi received an annual salary of $223,500. How much of it did she give to Ukraine?
Congressional majority and minority leaders and the president pro tempore of the Senate receive an annual salary of $193,400. How much of it did Steny Hoyer, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick Leahy, Charles Schumer, and Mitch McConnell give to Ukraine?
Members of Congress receive an annual salary of $174,000. How much of it has any of them given to Ukraine?
I think we all know the answer: zilch, zero, nothing. Ukraine supporters should put their money where their mouth is.
How much money have people who chant “Stand with Ukraine” actually given to Ukraine?
How much money have people who have dumped out Russia vodka actually given to Ukraine?
How much money have people who have boycotted Russian goods actually given to Ukraine?
How much money have people who put up pro-Ukraine yard signs actually given to Ukraine?
How much money have people who fly Ukrainian flags or wear Ukrainian lapel pins actually given to Ukraine?
How much money have people who have demonstrated against Russia actually given to Ukraine?
How much money have people who wear pro-Ukrainian t-shirts actually given to Ukraine?
Would all the money given by these people even buy Ukraine one missile? Ukraine supporters should put their money where their mouth is.
It doesn’t matter if Vladimir Putin is another Hitler, a diehard communist, the personification of evil, the antichrist, or the devil incarnate. Ukraine supporters should put their money where their mouth is.
It doesn’t matter if Russia is an evil empire, is aggressing Ukraine for no good reason, is trying to reestablish the USSR, is attempting to take over all of Ukraine, or is committing genocide against the Ukrainians. Ukraine supporters should put their money where their mouth is.
No matter what has happened or will happen in Ukraine—
It is not the business of the U.S. government to take sides in disputes between countries.
It is not the business of the U.S. government to take money from Americans and give it to foreigners or their governments.
It is not the business of the U.S. government to intervene in the affairs of other counties.
Ukraine supporters should put their money where their mouth is.
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society